Our sewing guild was looking for new charity quilt projects, and in looking through the book "Comfort Quilts from the Heart," I came across the idea of fidget quilts, or sensory stimulation quilts, especially appropriate for patients in long-term care facilities. The activity director at our local care facility was so excited upon learning of these that she requested 40 of them as soon as possible.
I prepared an information sheet to share with the guild membership to recruit sewers for these quilts. I've pasted a copy here in case you'd like to share the idea with your local sewing group. (Sorry, I tried to attach the actual document so it could be easily printed, but though it uploaded, I don't see it attached to this post anywhere, so now I've pasted it and uploaded most of the pictures.)
Mending the Mind: A Fidget Quilt
~information taken from Comfort Quilts from the Heart
by Jake Finch, C&T Publishing, 2008
~pictures collected via Google images - search for "fidget, sensory stimulation, or touch"
quilts are therapeutic quilts used to stimulate shut-in elderly patients or
anyone suffering from brain trauma and impairments. The long-term care centers in Aitkin and
Crosby would be happy to take as many of these as we can sew!
the fabrics used are decorator prints cut into medium-sized squares allowing
users to enjoy each fabric's distinctive look and feel. Choose fabrics with texture, patterns with
movement, bright colors and high contrast.
Try corduroy, fleece, fake fur, terrycloth, sateen, brocade, velvet, or
doodads, and embellishments are securely attached to the quilt for the user to
fondle. Use your imagination. Try rickrack, laces, braids, ribbons, trims,
or kitchen scrubbies. Put a layer of a
krinkly shopping bag in with the batting.
Visit the dollar store for tactile objects. Check the used clothing stores for zippers,
pockets, buttons, etc.
quilts can be quite small so they won't easily fall off the lap. A good size is approx. 20x25.
can be securely sewn to the center of the block or attached with a sturdy
ribbon sewn into the seams between rows.
Backstitch over the sewing to add even more strength.
embellishments that will hold up through laundering and rough handling. The
following pictures illustrate possible embellishments.